Are dry conditions going to continue?

Fall color, Wingfield Park in downtown Reno

Last year December saw rising water levels at Lake Tahoe. The first 12 days of December are seeing a falling lake level. Weather-wise, the next 10 days appear to be dominated by high pressure which pushes all the storms away from the west coast. Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with the fires that are affecting the Southern California communities, but the dry weather is worrisome as a portent of a return to drought conditions that have dominated the 21st century for the west coast and especially, Nevada and California. Truckee River flows are still running high due to release of water from Lake Tahoe and storage reservoirs. This is likely to allow sufficient storage in reservoirs and Lake Tahoe in case winter turns “wet”.  Lake Tahoe’s elevation is still considerably above its 21st century average water elevation.

Satellite images, such as this recent one from this eventing, show the large high pressure area that is directing storms away from  the Pacific Coast of California.

High Pressure dominates western USA.

The 2017 rise of Lake Tahoe is very impressive from the storms in January and February 2017. The current situation is that Lake Tahoe will decline unless we receive winter storms that raise the level of the Lake directly and build a snow pack.

Lake Tahoe elevation over the last 12 months (USGS).

Most of winter is still to come, but a dry December is not a great way to begin the “wet” season.

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About Dennis Ghiglieri

My concern for the Truckee River grew over the years. It started with picking up trash and supporting better water quality. I helped create the "living river"plan with other citizens on the Community Flood Coalition; a plan to reduce flood impacts to infrastructure through river restoration and protection of the floodplain. I understand how critical the Truckee River is to the environment – and economy – of our entire region. I'm hoping that through these pages we can all understand our connection to the Truckee River and why we need to protect it.

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